POM Wonderful is a beverages company that mainly produces pomegranate juice with high content of antioxidants. POM has gained more fame than any other brands competing Coca-Cola and Pepsi in functional foods and beverages. In this Paper, I will be addressing the potential deception between Coca-Cola’s advertisers and POM Wonderful advertising, the reason for FTC to have food and supplement marker’ claim about the health impact of their products to be substantiated by clinical trials, my opinion if POM Wonderful needs to go scrutiny as drug companies if it wants to make health claims about its product.
After thorough analysis of the case study and “POM Wonderful, LLC v. Coca-Cola Co.” lawsuit, the claims that were made by POM advertisements are contrasted with what Coca Cola advertised with its new Pomegranate Blueberry blend. To add some context with the claims that POM Wonderful made in Ads with its product line Juices, Fruit and Flavored Tea were related to reduce the chances of diseases and help enhance the health attributes like aging, cardiovascular conditions and certain types of cancer without any substantiation. However, if we take a closer look at what regulators, especially FTC imposed on Food and supplements Manufacturers, is to adhere to labelling standards, as it has a direct impact on consumers. On the other hand, what was alleged on Coca-Cola’s product Minute maid was, though their promotion says that it is a blend of Pomegranate and Blueberry, only 0.6% of the juice contains the actual advertised content, but the majority has been was just Grape and Apple juice. Considering the means of advertisements and the factual evidence provided by POM Wonderful about its products is different from Coca-Cola’s strategy to capture the share of the health foods market.
There are numerous products around the globe that try to take their slice from the billion-dollar health industry, by introducing health drinks made out of fresh fruits or vegetables. Looking at the posture of the present trend with functional foods and beverage consumption, consumers intake has been flourishing in the past decade, especially with younger age groups. At this pace continues to influence other major economies, China and India along with the existing key players United States and Japan. Considering this rapid growth, FTC, along with the Food and Drug Administration has to take appropriate measures and place some guardrails for supplement makers to maintain transparency while labeling their products or choosing words for advertisements. Choices that were made by the FTC, for instance, in this case study was to protect consumers from misleading information driven by commercials. When it comes to POM Wonderful, the FTC found that it violated the guidelines by promoting its line of products by using terms like “lowers cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart problems” without providing sufficient evidence or clinical trials. Though these generic claims from POM Wonderful are based off of polyphenols, which are rich in antioxidants that comes from Pomegranates. However, the point that was made by the FTC was none of these statements were backed with solid evidence, which raises concerns from functional food makers. If at all any product that targets a health segment and claims that its products cure, mitigates, treats or prevents diseases must undergo similar trials by other drugs.
In this scenario, though the FTC imposed stringent actions, I personally feel there is no necessity for POM to go through the same rigorous standards like drug companies, since the juices are made of Pomegranate, which is not the same like manufacturing drugs that contains various chemicals.
Ethics – O.C. Ferrell, John, Linda